Hot Compact Pickup: 1989 Dodge Shelby Dakota

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Dodge had some really interesting Dakota pickups in the 1980s with the convertible and also their hot trucks, like this 1989 Dodge Shelby Dakota pickup. This one can be found here on eBay in Gresham, Oregon and the current bid price is just over $3,500.

This is one great looking truck, and the seller says that it’s 1 of 640 white Shelby Dakotas built that year. Out of 1,475, it’s the 1,384th one built, if any of you were into those sorts of statistics. The others must have been red since those were officially the only two colors available. The seller says that this is the incorrect Shelby stripe kit and the paint is in fair condition. I don’t see any flaws but it would be nice to see it in person to see the details.

This truck not only hauls it literally hauls and the fully-lined bed looks great. The Shelby Dakota was made for one model year – 1989.

I can’t get enough of a red interior, especially when there are little Shelby Shelby Shelby scripts plastered all over the seats. The seller has owned this one for the last decade and they say that the previous owner “semi-restored” it and it’s pretty clean underneath. They upgraded the rear brakes to discs and it also has a 9-1/4″ rear end with 3.91 ratio and positraction. That’s not it for upgrades…

The engine should be Dodge’s 318 cubic-inch V8 with 175 hp but the seller mentions that it was replaced with a 408 cubic-inch stroker, which I’m hoping is a Mopar engine. I know there’s a Ford 408 stroker and Lord knows, dropping a Chevy engine in a Ford or a Dodge is as common as seeing a Kardashian at a Brazillian butt-lift workout session but I’m guessing that this is a Mopar engine. It has to fly compared to the 318 and I see a “425 hp” on what looks like a stock Shelby Dakota air cleaner? Any thoughts on this Shelby Dakota pickup?

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  1. Don

    During that summer between college semesters I worked at a Dodge dealership prepping new cars for customers. I can clearly remember having to get the keys and pull these out of the lot to get them ready.
    I can also clearly remember the younger sales guys taking them out for joy rides and hooning the crap out of them before anyone bought them.

    Like 3
    • Superdessucke

      Somewhat related, my ex-wife and I decided on a then brand new silver 2006 Acura RSX Type-S. But we learned as we were closing the deal that they’d given the car to a porter to drive a few hundred miles to Cincinnati before we agreed to buy, but it was on the way back.

      I immediately broke off negotiations and bought a black one from another dealer. I definitely thought it was being hooned. That’s why any new muscle car I’d buy would have to have delivery mileage.

      Like 3
    • TinCanSailor

      Don – When I bought my 2017 Dodge Charger Scat Pack it had about 30 miles on the odometer and a top speed of 119 mph recorded on the performance page. I think the young sales guys from your days are still out there, and still abusing cars on the lot!

      Like 1
  2. Gord

    funny, these were marketed as MID size trucks, not compact (compact was the ranger, s10, etc.)

    Like 1
  3. Philip

    When I was growing up, a neighbor across the street had a red Shelby Dakota. I’ve never seen another one since given how rare they are. He ended up trading the truck in for a yellow Pontiac Sunbird Convertible, lol!

    Like 0
  4. stillrunners

    Wounder what the reserve is……pretty nice little Shelby truck.

    Like 1
  5. Troy s

    I remember these, hardly saw any on the road at all but I knew of their existence. Thought it was an excellent way for Dodge to get back into rear wheel drive V8 performance, something they hadn’t had for a while.
    Looks to be in decent shape, and the stroker motor will definitely get things moving with those 3.91 gears. Won’t get it past the smog station here in Kalifornia but it sure would be fun to stomp on the loud pedal!

    Like 1
  6. convdart440

    I would buy this truck except I need it for work and its way to nice for construction abuse and the fact Ca would never allow me to register it with the 408 stroker engine in it. Yes it is a Mopar engine ( Magnum 360 with a stroker crank ).. I had a dodge colt GLH ( S – Shelby ) which was missing the Shelby badges but was the same car front wheel drive 2.2 litre turbo charged 4 banger. That car would get the driverside front wheel off the ground when you power braked . Those and the omni were quick sleepers , so I can imagine how quick this truck was. This truck was one of main reasons why I later bought my 2000 Dakota R/T with the 5.9 (360) v-8 truck. I think the shelby was probably the better of the 2 when new.

    Like 0
  7. Stuart Rogers

    They also made a Shelby version of the Dakota convertible during this period. I love my convertible with the V-6, but this thing must be a riot. Does it have 4 wheel drive?

    Like 0
    • Todd

      Don’t think they made a Shelby convertible pick up, if you saw one it may have been created….

      Like 0
    • Todd

      No 4wd in this version, and I don’t think they made a convertible shelby version, if you saw one I think someone must have created it.

      Like 0
      • ChebbyMember

        The early Dakota came in convertible, V8, Shelby, and 4WD versions in its lifetime, unfortunately any single truck has a maximum of two of those flavors.

        Like 0
  8. Mountainwoodie

    What a great literary twist of the tongue…”. dropping a Chevy in a Dodge truck as common as a Kardashian at a Brazilian butt lift workout session”…Dickens had nothing on Scotty!

    Of course a crane might be more useful to lift both the truck and that other thing….

    Did these come with the manly 4 on the floor? Because otherwise I’d feel like a poseur driving this ‘truck’

    Like 0
  9. Terry Bowman

    My guess would be it’s a Mopar engine, due to the facts that it fits nicely in the engine bay, the distributor in a mopar color and the heads are from a small block that appears it could be a 360 if it has 425 HP and not a 318. I still question the HP ratings. Even a hopped up early 340 would be difficult to achieve 425 HP with the induction I see here in the photo. Wrong heads for a early 340 anyway. Mopar crate motors did come with 360 HP with a 360 displacement. It does have a Hi-Po exhaust which I’m sure is part of the Shelby package. Still a nice truck to be had.

    Like 0
  10. Tooyoung4heyday Tooyoung4heydayMember

    You can buy a 408 stroker motor right from the catalog. Open your latest copy of summit or jegs and you’ll see a few versions. I too have seen a convertible shelby dakota. It was red with black top, black stripes and the racerback was red. Something left out of the conversation so far is something I always liked, local guy used to have one. Saw it just a couple times years ago and dont know what happened to it but the Shelby Durango SP360. I believe it was a ’99 model year and featured a supercharged 360. Awesome looking and sounded great too.

    Like 0
  11. Will Irby

    Yes, the 408 stroker is a popular Mopar crate engine, available in various combinations up to 500+ horsepower. I considered using one to replace the 340 that I put in my ’65 Barracuda in ’77, but decided to go with an aluminum 433 3rd gen Hemi instead.

    Like 0

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